Get into the festive spirit this year with a range of events happening in The Cotswolds. Enjoy a warming mulled wine as you watch twinkly lights illuminate the beautiful towns and villages. You can visit Santa’s grotto, explore Christmas markets or grab a pair of skates and hit the ice. Whatever you fancy, a Christmas in The Cotswolds will be one to remember.
Local Christmas Markets
A Christmas Market is a fantastic way to get in the festive spirit this year. With a range of indoor and outdoor markets around The Cotswolds, you’ll be sure to find the perfect gift for everyone.
South Cerney Christmas Market: Saturday 12th November (4-7pm)
Light Switch On & Cirencester Advent Market : Saturday 26th November (10am-6pm)
Cirencester Advent Street Market: Sunday 27th November (10am–4pm)
Fairford Christmas Market: Friday 2nd December (6:30-8:30pm)
Cheltenham Christmas Market: Thursday 8th December – Saturday 24th December
Broadway Light Night Shopping: Friday 25th November and Friday 2nd December (5:30-8:30pm)
Gloucester Quays Christmas Weekend Markets: Every weekend from Saturday 5th November to Sunday 18th December
Stroud Christmas Market: From Saturday 18th December-Thursday 23rd December
Bath Christmas Markets: Daily from Thursday 24th November to Sunday 11th December
The Gateway Ice Rink
Friday 18th November – Tuesday 3rd January
The Gateway Ice Rink, located near South Cerney in the Cotswold Water Park, will not only be Gloucestershire’s biggest all-weather ice rink – it’s one of the first in the country to offer special sensory skating sessions.
Hoping to make ice skating as accessible and inclusive as possible, sensory skating sessions will take place every Monday. They will operate with reduced lighting, no music and 50 per cent fewer skaters on the ice. It also offers full wheelchair access, too, and anyone who requires a chaperone will be able to bring them along at no additional charge.
Keeping skaters’ stomachs full, the choice of food on-site includes: wood-fired pizzas from Pizzeria 720, hog roast rolls and seasonal pies from The Gateway’s pop-up shack. Plus the usual all-day breakfast, brunch and lunch specials; as well as sweet treats like waffles, crêpes and doughnuts — not to mention open-fire marshmallow toasting, too.
Skaters can also enjoy festive favourites like mulled wine and spiced cider at Bar @ Lake 6.
The Gateway Ice Rink will be open from Friday 18 November 2022 to Tuesday 3 January 2023, with skating sessions running every day aside from Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Cotswold Christmas Shop
Weekdays 10:30 am-4:30 pm (Closed Tuesdays) & Weekends 10:00 am-5:00 pm
One of our favourite ways to prepare for Christmas in The Cotswolds is The Cotswold Christmas Shop, located in Lechlade, is a must visit place. The lovely staff, along with Santa’s little helpers, are all passionate about bringing authentic and unique Christmassy products from all around the world (and locally). Create a Christmas filled with wonder with their perfectly coordinated themes. From traditional Nordic delights to quirky, fantastical creatures you’re sure to find the perfect decorations for your home this Christmas.
Lechalde-on-Thames is a quintessential, beautiful Cotswold Town on the River Thames. It is home to a thriving market square, dominated by the 15th century parish church, with plenty of cafes, pubs and shops.
Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arboretum
Weekends from 25 November to 21 December, Friday 16 – Wednesday 21 December & selected evenings – 4.00pm – 9.30pm
There’s magic around every corner on Westonbirt Arboretum’s brand-new illuminated trail!
Father Christmas’ Elves have made their way to the arboretum to decorate the trees in twinkly lights for Christmas. But they’re running slightly behind schedule… will the trail be ready on time to welcome the main man himself?
This year we invite you to go behind the scenes of Enchanted Christmas to witness the wonder, hilarity and general commotion that comes with playful Elves creating Westonbirt’s spectacular illuminated trail. You may even find yourself joining in to help!
With new light displays to discover and mischievous elves to meet, this is Enchanted Christmas as you’ve never seen it before…
On Saturday 26th November & Saturday 3rd December from 4pm – 5pm the trail will be adapted to suit those with additional needs with strong flashing lights, loud sound effects and smoke effects temporarily deactivated.
Spectacle of Light at Sudeley Castle
Friday 25th November – Friday 30th December
Explore the magical after-dark experience and follow the new illuminated trail around the beautiful castle grounds at Sudeley Castle. Enjoy the wonderful music as you discover each new secret of this romantic, enchanting environment.
Discover the new Wave and the flickering flowers of the Queens garden. Gaze at the sparkling water features and the mesmerising Field of Fire. Light beams, lanterns and much much more.
Festive Food and Cheer!
Christmas in The Cotswolds wouldn’t be complete without some festive food! Sip festive warmers of spiced mulled wine and sprinkled hot chocolate as you join the magical trail around these wonderful grounds. Tuck into simple take-away hot food and delicious donuts from the Castle Terrace, including Hot Dogs, Chilli Fries, Pulled Pork, and some wonderful vegan and gluten free options. Before your journey home why not treat yourself to a winter warming drink and browse the lovely gift shop for some unique Christmas gifts and souvenirs.
Christmas at Blenheim Palace
Friday 18th November – Sunday 18th December
This Christmas at Blenheim Palace there will be a new trail and a new exquisitely themed Palace interior, plan now to secure the date and time of your choice.
The after-dark illuminated trail sparkling in The Great Outdoors
Firmly positioned as one of the highlights of the UK festive calendar, and one of our favourite ways to celebrate Christmas in The Cotswolds is Blenheim Palace’s illuminated evening walking trail. Wander the Palace’s picture-perfect gardens filled with Christmas cheer as over a million lights and seasonal sounds fill the air. Look forward to some time together with family and friends as you discover glittering tunnels of light, dancing lakeside reflections and trees drenched in jewel-like colour. For a moment of reflection, pause at mesmerising flickering flames in the fire garden and the larger-than-life illuminations, and don’t forget to glimpse Father Christmas along the way!
Our crew of talented independent street food vendors bring a delicious twist to tempting treats on offer. To make it perfectly festive, complete your walk under the stars with a spiced winter warmer or hot chocolate shared with someone special.
The Kingdom of the Snow Queen re-imagined within Britain’s Greatest Palace
New for 2022, explore the Palace rooms, each one exquisitely transformed and filled with hidden surprises – discover the glistening Land of Snowflakes filled with a silvery frost-covered forest and venture into the wintery Kingdom of Ice adorned with larger-than-life shimmering crystals. It’s a fairy-tale world where we really want a happy-ever-after. Will the ice-cold Snow Queen ever change her ways? Perhaps the kind reindeer will save the day and help reunite the two young friends. This fantastical winter wonderland is where the magic really begins…
The Christmas Market
The Christmas Market will be returning in 2022, with many designer/maker craft traders who will be housed in wooden chalets in the Great Court. Their distinctive range of artisan products will make perfect treats and gifts this Christmas.
Christmas Afternoon Tea
Our magical Ice Kingdom Themed Afternoon Tea will run between 18th November 2022 – 2nd January 2023 at the Orangery. Afternoon tea can be added at the end of the Christmas booking process, you will be required to have a valid Christmas at Blenheim Palace ticket to experience the Afternoon Tea.
The Cotswolds is an incredible place to celebrate the festive season! Enjoy a 4 or 7-night break in one of our Self-Catering Properties over Christmas and New Year and leave the stress at home. Browse our Lakeside holiday homes and country properties.